Newly appointed Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) interim committee chairman Russel Karimazondo says the qualification by the Zambezi Cheetahs for the 2018 Rugby Sevens World Cup has made their job easier to set up structures and solicit for sponsorship.
Zimbabwe national sevens rugby team nicknamed the Zambezi Cheetahs qualified after a podium finish as runners up to winners Uganda who beat them 7-10 in the final.
Karimazondo was happy with the Zambezi Cheetahs achievement despite lack of competitive league as it would help make the interim committee’s task of setting up structures and to engage stakeholders and sponsors.
“Every corporate wants to leverage their brand with a winning team,” said Karimazondo.
The 2018 USA world rugby sevens tournament is set for July 20-22.
It will be the fourth time that the Zambezi Cheetahs will be making an appearance at the Rugby World Cup Sevens.
Coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba paid tribute to the sponsors Delta Beverages and players saying their target is now to impress at the world stage competing against world’s 24 best teams rather than just making up the numbers.
“Playing against world best 24 teams means a lot…,” Nyamutsamba said.
Apart from the world cup qualification, the Zambezi Cheetahs also qualified for the World Series qualifying tournament in Hong Kong from April 6-8 next year.
Zimbabwe was part of the world cup in 1997, 2001, 2009, and 2013.
Their best position finish at the world cup was 13th place in 2013 where they lost the plate final 26-17 to Samoa.
Uganda were crowned winners after successfully defending the trophy which they won last year in Kenya and will represent Africa alongside Zimbabwe, Kenya and South Africa’s Blitzbokkes at the Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco, USA, next year.
The Zambezi Cheetahs side qualified for the sevens rugby world cup after they won their semi-final match against Madagascar despite losing in the final narrowly 7-10 to Uganda.
They beat Tunisia in the quarter-finals.
Zimbabwe beat Senegal 17-5, Mauritius 21-7, and Botswana 21-7 and lost to Madagascar 12-19 in the group stages.